Gazimestan

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Gazimestan
Газиместан
Gazimestani 2014 DSCN6944.JPG
Gazimestan monument
Gazimestan is located in Kosovo
Gazimestan
Location in Kosovo
Coordinates 42°41′26″N 21°7′25″E / 42.69056°N 21.12361°E / 42.69056; 21.12361
Location 5 km from Pristina, Kosovo
Designer Aleksandar Deroko
Type memorial, tower
Material stone
Height 25 m
Completion date 1953
Dedicated to fallen Serbian soldiers at the Battle of Kosovo (1389)

Gazimestan (Serbian: Газиместан, Serbian pronunciation: [ɡaziměstaːn]) is the name of a memorial site and monument commemorating the Battle of Kosovo (1389), situated about 6-7 kilometres southeast of the actual battlefield, known as the Kosovo field. The name is a portmanteau derived from Arabic ghazi, meaning "hero" or "champion", and Serbian word mesto, meaning "place". Gazimestan is reached from the PristinaMitrovica highway, on a 50-metre hill above the plain, ca. 5 km north-west from Pristina. Every year, on Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day), 28 June, a commemoration is held by the monument, which in later years is also covered by an image of Prince Lazar, who led the Serbian army at the battle.

History[edit]

The site was the place where Despot Stefan Lazarević erected a marble pillar with an inscription commemorating the battle.[1] That monument disappeared during the Ottoman period.[1] A monumental building in the form of a temple (Vidovdanski hram, "Vidovdan temple") designed by Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović was planned but never realized.[1] In 1924 a small monument honouring the Serbian heroes at the battle (Kosovski junaci, "Kosovo heroes") was erected; it was an obelisk with a cross on top.[1] It had a Cyrillic inscription: "To the fallen heroes for the honorable cross, freedom, and rights of their people – 1389 1912 – [by] thankful descendants, citizens and soldiers of the city of Priština".[1] During World War II, just after the Yugoslav capitulation, the monument was mined by Albanian fascist troops and completely destroyed.[1] In the years prior to the war, a larger monument had been planned and a cornerstone placed near where the present monument is, but the threat of war put it on hold.[2]

Until the end of World War I and the creation of Yugoslavia (1918) there were no conditions or opportunities for large masses to gather at the site. More notable celebrations of Vidovdan (St. Vitus' day) at Gazimestan are noticed only since 1919, in 1924 when the obelisk was erected, and finally before the start of the war, five and a half centuries after the battle.[2] In this period an estimated 20,000–100,000 people gathered on Vidovdan at Gazimestan.[2] Participants included not only native Kosovo Serbs, but also Serbs from distant regions, such as the Bay of Kotor, Dalmatia, Bosnia and Old Montenegro, and Skoplje, Zagreb, Belgrade and some places in Vojvodina.[2] The celebration programme included, from 9 or 10 o'clock, commemoration in liturgy at Gračanica, Samodreža and Gazimestan, speeches, discourses, and artillery fire.[3] In 1935 and 1939 there were also air show.[3]

In 1989, on the 600th anniversary, Serbian president Slobodan Milošević held the famous Gazimestan speech at the site.

In 1997 the site was declared a cultural heritage of Serbia.[4]

In 1999, in the aftermath of the Kosovo War (1998–99) the monumental area was mined.[4]

In 2007, a 14-day march from Belgrade to Gazimestan was organized by several patriotic organizations.[5]

In 2009, the commemoration brought the biggest crowd since 1999, with several thousand people.[6]

In 2010, the Kosovo Police was handed over the task of guarding the monument, which was criticised by the Serbian government.[7] In 2014, President Tomislav Nikolić held a speech at the monument.[8]

Monument[edit]

The Gazimestan monument was designed by Aleksandar Deroko, in the shape of a medieval tower, and built in 1953 under the authority of SFR Yugoslavia.

See also[edit]

Annotations[edit]

a.   ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 112 out of 193 United Nations member states.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Marković 1989, p. 128.
  2. ^ a b c d Marković 1989, p. 129.
  3. ^ a b Marković 1989, p. 130.
  4. ^ a b "Gazimestan". Spomenici. Republic of Serbia. 
  5. ^ "Vreme 860 - Kosovo: Vidovdan 2007". Vreme.com. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  6. ^ "Serbs celebrate Vidovdan in Kosovo". B92.net. 28 June 2009. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  7. ^ "Kosovo police take over historic site of Gazimestan". BBC News. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "Nikolić's speech at Gazimestan interrupted". B92.net. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°41′26″N 21°07′25″E / 42.69056°N 21.12361°E / 42.69056; 21.12361